Wording new paths: Text-based notation in new solo percussion works by Natasha Anderson, Erik Griswold, and Vanessa Tomlinson

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New music compositions for percussion continue to embrace a wide range of musical idioms, performance approaches, and technologies associated with contemporary music making. Text scores have had an important role to play in percussion works where rhythmic structures are not a central concern, or where a significant amount of improvisation is required, but also in works that feature electronic parts. Percussion music has tested the capacity of traditional notation to represent a broad range of new ideas, and text, alongside graphic notation, offers an alternative possibility for composers designing new sound worlds for percussion. Building on early examples of text scores by composers such as Alvin Lucier, Tom Johnson, Pauline Oliveros, and Yoko Ono, this paper examines three recent Australian works that engage text as the principal aspect of the score, with reference to their premiere performances by Australian percussionist Vanessa Tomlinson. The works composed are by Tomlinson, Natasha Anderson, and Erik Griswold.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-47
Number of pages12
JournalContemporary Music Review
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2017


  • Australian Music
  • Notation
  • Percussion
  • Text Score
  • Verbal Score

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